Lawn Aeration: Why, When and How

Lawn Care & Landscape

Lawn aeration is a technique that helps loosen the soil to allow oxygen, water and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Aeration is especially beneficial for lawns that grow in dense soil or seem to have sparse, patchy areas due to high foot traffic. Discover why, when and how to aerate to improve the appearance of your lawn this year. 

Why Aeration Is Important

Lawns can get compressed and compacted due to everyday wear, foot traffic and an accumulation of autumn leaves. Aeration makes holes in the lawn and loosens the soil, which allows oxygen, water and nutrients to reach the roots. This promotes healthy growth, and consistent lawn coverage. 

Additionally, your lawn can develop a buildup of material just under the surface called thatch. Thatch is a layer of living and decomposing grass stems, roots and other organic material found between the green matter and the soil surface. Thatch prevents air, water and fertilizer from getting to the roots of the grass and can cause your grass to thin out and eventually die. You can minimize thatch by avoiding over-watering and over-fertilizing, and with timely raking. Even if you remove your leaves with a blower, use a metal rake to rake the thatch vigorously at the end of the growing season. However, aeration is one of the best methods to break up thatch and allow much needed air, water and nutrients back into the root system. 

When to Aerate

For warm season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, lawn aeration can be scheduled in the spring, once the soil has thawed. Timing aeration right before active growth season can allow your lawn to recover more quickly and promote more lush lawns. Aeration is easiest to perform when your soil is moist from watering or from a previous rainfall. It is recommended to water in your lawn a day or two before the aeration if you’ve not received a recent rainfall, as overly dry lawns can be more difficult. However, if showers have produced more than an inch of rain, you may need to postpone your aeration. Overly wet lawns need to be dried out so the process doesn’t damage your yard.

How to Aerate Your Lawn

Lawn aeration can be accomplished with a steel spike aerator, but is usually more effective to use a core aerator. Core aerators pull plugs of grass and soil, allowing for more circulation and loosening of the soil. Spike aerators simply poke holes in the soil, and can actually make the problem worse by further compacting soil. If you choose to aerate your lawn yourself, you can rent a core aerator from local equipment rental companies or home improvement stores. 

You’ll want to flag your lawn for irrigation heads and other hazards. Run the aerator over the lawn completely in one direction, then go back over it in a perpendicular direction. Leave the cores on the surface to breakdown and decompose naturally. This is also a great time to apply fertilizer to further spur on healthy growth.

The other option is to hire a professional lawn care provider. OneNeighbor service experts have years of combined experience to ensure your aeration methods are done correctly, timely and in a way that most benefits the growth of your lawn. See how OneNeighbor can help with your aeration, fertilization and other lawn care needs in Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX, Tampa Bay, FL, Houston, TX and Austin, TX. 


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